April 30, 2001–Wolfram Research, Inc., makers of the world-leading technical software Mathematica, has embarked on a new business direction. More than a decade ago, Wolfram Research’s stalwart Mathematica all but created the market for comprehensive computing systems. Now, with the introduction of a number of new products, Wolfram Research has begun its metamorphosis into a multiproduct company offering organization-wide technical computing solutions.
Spearheading this transformation is Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic and International Development at Wolfram Research, Inc. “In the course of developing Mathematica, we’ve developed a great deal of unique technology that is also valuable in other contexts: an innovative and effective development environment, unparalleled integration of numeric and symbolic capabilities, and truly interactive document technology–to name a few,” says Wolfram. “It was clear that some of this same basic technology would be of even wider appeal if delivered in ways that directly addressed the needs of other markets.”
The first new product from Wolfram Research to emerge from this effort is CalculationCenter, which has been optimized to penetrate the midmarket for general and engineering computation occupied primarily by spreadsheet programs, hand-held calculators, and even pencil and paper. Although CalculationCenter is a product for doing calculations and is compatible with Mathematica, that’s where the similarities end. “Our target audience with CalculationCenter needs a very different interface than a Mathematica user to be efficient,” comments Wolfram. “Power users need optimum flexibility even if it takes longer to learn; however, there is a large midmarket base of professionals who want to be able to pick the product up and do any of their calculations within 10 minutes.”
The next development from Wolfram Research is the soon-to-be-launched webMathematica, a product for providing Mathematica‘s computational power over the web. Crucial for organizations wanting to deliver customized technical computing power either in-house or to customers through an already existing web interface, webMathematica makes Mathematica accessible through any web-enabled device. A number of webMathematica applications have already been created or are in development, having resulted in several new partnerships for Wolfram Research.
Strong compatibility between forthcoming products and Mathematica is what makes Wolfram Research’s enterprise solutions so powerful for organizations. “By offering a range of compatible products sharing the same language, document format, and help systems, we give users the best of both worlds: the ability to share information with others in their organization or profession while using a product ideal for their needs. That’s never been possible before with any technical software,” says Wolfram.
Another key advantage of developing a full suite of products based on the same proven core technology is the extent to which Wolfram Research can continue to offer enterprise solutions to organizations in the future. All Wolfram Research products are developed to be fully backward compatible and forward looking, using long-term design principles. “Customers who choose our products are ensured that their applications will be accurate, reliable, and professional and that we will continue to develop to meet their future needs,” Wolfram adds.